The year was 1982, I believe, when I first encountered the Brazilian conductor Isaac Karabtchevsky. He had come to guest conduct the Orquesta Filarmonica de la Ciudad de Mexico (Mexico City Philharmonic), of which I was a member. I have fond memories of the experience, especially the opening number of the concert, the “Overture to Der Freischutz” by Carl Maria von Weber. The orchestra loved playing for him and gave him terrific performances. I recall going out afterward with a group of musicians and Maestro Karabtchevsky, for drinks.
Generally, when we think of the compositional output of the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, we think of the remarkable series of “Bachianas Brasileiras,” and then perhaps the collection of compositions he referred to as “Choros.” Within this music, so core to Villa-Lobos, we find compositions which pay his debt to Bach, show his love for the cello (the more the merrier), and in the “Choros” music which resonates into the concert hall the popular Brazilian form known as choro.